Reader view: Prioritizing spending and protecting taxpayers’ dollars

I have requested that My Edmonds News post my May 16, 2023 email to the Edmonds City Council below. Since the May 15 meeting, the concerns of the gentlemen who expressed concern about being taxed out of his home has weighed heavy on me. My concern is that residents who have lived in Edmonds for generations, helped build this beautiful city and community, have paid their taxes in support of our schools, roads, parks, police and fire departments are now on their way to becoming homeless themselves. All in the name of helping city and county projects such as the hotel purchased to house the homeless on Highway 99. I am overwhelmed with concern for our elderly, tax-paying homeowners. Pushing victimhood, the homeless, has created financial opportunity for others at the expense of the very fabric, the backbone, of Edmonds.  Empathy for some is becoming the path to cruelty for another group of people — again, these arethe fabric and foundation of Edmonds. Is this elder abuse?
Good Morning Council President and Members,

I want to thank CM Diane Buckshnis, Vivian Olson, and David Teitzel for taking time out of their already busy schedules to host the meeting last night engaging us/their constituents on pressing topics such as HWY 99 issues.  

I brought up the issue of the hotel the county purchased to house the homeless and folks with drug addiction. I would like to remind you that back when the County Council was considering the purchase of the hotel, I personally researched other programs throughout the U.S. to see what kind of success rates they had. Two in particular come to mind, one in California and another in Arizona. These programs took in the homeless drug addicted and provided housing, food, the essentials of daily living and treatment. They also, provided education, marketable job skills so that these folks could go out into society and provide for themselves as fully functioning members of society. I don’t know whether County Council took the time to look at the research I had done or contacted these two facilities. I do know that the County choose not to — at least at that time to include treatment into their plan.  I understand through your input last night they are still working out particulars.  

I would like to point out that Edmonds College has a program where drug addicted folks whom have completed or are in the process of completing a treatment program are paired with a person (called their Angel) to mentor them and help them navigate the education process at the college so they are ready to enter the job market and become contributing members of society. This program is in existence right now.  

Compassion is not synonymous with enabling. I most certainly want to offer a hand up to the drug addicted. However, as a hard working tax payer I do not want to see taxpayer dollars thrown down a rabbit hole so some elected officials can tout “hey look at me” what they’ve done to address this issue – when in fact, they have done nothing to solve the problem, but simply perpetuate.

Yes, the hotel was not purchased with Edmonds budget dollars. But let me point out the obvious, ARPA funds are/were taxpayer dollars, Edmonds citizens’ taxpayer dollars  The gentleman at last night’s meeting whom is concerned that he is being taxed out of his home is a prime example of how our citizens are being taxed and their dollars are being wasted on programs that don’t solve a problem but simply perpetuate or create more government paying jobs – to what end, more government bureaucracy. In the meantime, hard-working citizens whom have lived in Edmonds for many years, paid their taxes are being taxed out of their homes, they soon may be homeless as well.  Some one has to care about these folks too.  

As far as crime in Edmonds, I’m frustrated because what I see is criminals being allowed, enabled to continue this lifestyle. Our justice system is not holding them to account for their crimes. In reality simply giving them free license to continue stealing, harming folks, murdering with little or no consequence. Where is the compassion for our law-abiding citizens?  I’m in favor of more police officers in Edmonds. But are they simply going to catch the criminal and then set them free with no accountability? If this is the case, perhaps these dollars should go elsewhere.  

Thank you to those of you on City Council who keep a sharp eye on our tax dollars and all things Edmonds. You are appreciated.  


Theresa Campa Hutchison
  1. Thank you for your insightful post Theresa. I, too, have wondered where the compassion is for elderly folks who are getting taxed out of their homes. The response I’ve heard from some young, entitled people is “they can just move.”

    Unfortunately, our community, starting with some of the “leaders” at the top of the Edmonds ladder, are setting that example. They see Edmonds homeowners as a piggy bank for their own agendas and political aspirations. The only hope we have at this point is to make change at the ballot box this fall.

  2. Thank you for this articulate and thoughtful email. I am in 100% agreement with these sentiments. As a retired addiction counselor, housing the homeless without requiring accountability (ie: solving the reasons they are homeless) is a ridiculous waste of our money. And I am now elderly and wonder: will I be able to live out my life here?

  3. Having attended this town hall that Theresa is referring to, I have to comment that it’s exactly the sort of open conversation between our elected officials and citizens that people wanting our support for election or possible re-election to key city positions should be engaging in on a routine basis. These events are all too uncommon here but, when they do occur, I’ve noticed Diane Buckshnis is usually either the main instigator or in attendance. She’s running to be our next Mayor, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

    All kinds of promises get made by our mayoral candidates to be open and fair to everyone before the election. And after the election it’s the same old take care of the entertainment business establishment and support the form over function crowd at the expense of simple good municipal government with needs coming before wants. I’m voting for Diane Buckshnis for mayor because she is ready to go on day one with experience and will put a stop to a bunch of the nonsense we’ve been subjected to lately by mayor, some staff and too much political party partisan influence on Council.

  4. From a neighbor in MLT…

    These are problems created at the federal level by the entrenched 2-party system controlled by fictitious legal corporate “people” who are only interested in fattening the bloated wealth of the few through stories/media, laws and “The” economy.

    While the homeless and destitute population are not all “druggies,” the wealthy that benefit are not all greedy.

    Can we find ways to work together to be compassionate to those without AND those with?

    We must learn to talk politics and governance both in and out of schools, which influence everything else.

    There are many untold stories that affect our lives.

    One 3+ minute example:

    And from an old “enemy”/”friend”:

  5. Great letter Theresa and I totally agree. When the county bought the hotel many of us called in and emailed in support of a proposal that residents be enrolled in drug treatment as a condition of residency. That was voted down by Megan Dunn, Strom Peterson and Jared Mead. And then the building was deemed uninhabitable due to lingering effects of drugs. I’m not sure of the current condition. And yes, tax payers who have been paying for many years are now still paying, from perhaps greatly reduced incomes, for an unproven and costly program.

    I love our police but their job is hampered by prosecutors who fail to prosecute crimes.

    Vote wisely, Edmonds.

  6. The edmonds homeowner whose home has risen an average of 300% in the last ten years is worried about getting taxed out of their home? Maybe NIMBY policies that drove up their property values to the point they can’t afford the tax is the issue and those same policies reduced affordable housing and increased homelessness. I struggle to have sympathy for the homeowners when they are among the wealthiest in the nation. My family are some of these super wealthy long time Edmonds homeowners and I’m well aware of how little anyone who has owned a home in Edmonds for any period of time has to legitimately complain about.

    1. How about we spread the blame around a bit. How about calling affordable housing, that isn’t affordable the way to go?? How about spending for wants not needs? How about all the money for improvements to a home and all the property taxes we paid for 32 years or more and having no breaks at all. I can and do pay every month on every utility (they are outrageous. I can pay my property taxes because of years of living a life without opulence, without fancy travel. It’s called priorities. I have them. Tired of being blamed for living responsibly…I thought that was an ethical way to live. Am I wrong?

      1. Right on Deb. Isn’t it strange how responsible people like us, who worked our butts off all our lives, saved money, drove used cars for years, didn’t eat out three times a week and didn’t go to Europe, Hawaii, Asia and South America every six months are somehow to blame for all the homelessness and misery of so many poor, unfortunate people around us? Why, I think we should just be totally ashamed of what we have because we’ve worked hard and earned it, instead of just dropping out and being victims of the system that was so against us and made our life so difficult.

      2. You can pay your property taxes no matter what because you could take the trivial amount out of your wildly inflated home price even if you made zero improvements to it whatsoever. You could have done that to pay your taxes this whole time and still have more equity than you did at any point in the past. An ethical way to live is sacrificing as much as you can for those less fortunate are than you. Dehumanizing others in order to feel entitled to the luxury you enjoy is not ethical.

        1. Leon, now you are saying people like Deborah and I are unethical and dehumanizing because we’ve been responsible and have accumulated some personal wealth and that it is only right that we be taxed to the hilt to take care of everyone else less fortunate than us. I’ve got a newsflash for you my friend, we all have to play the cards we are dealt with in life as best we can. Our Constitution guarantees us the right to the PURSUIT of happiness, not happiness itself.

        2. “An ethical way to live is sacrificing as much as you can for those less fortunate are than you. Dehumanizing others in order to feel entitled to the luxury you enjoy is not ethical.”

          Seems pretty judgmental. Is it ethical to attack someone based on one’s own estimation of their wealth, integrity, level of luxury, lack of sacrifice for others, etc.? Seems kind of dehumanizing to paint blindly with so broad a brush, and with perhaps less than total knowledge of a person’s history and circumstances – not to mention just a bit rude.

        3. I have never borrowed against my home for anything. So I wouldn’t know about that. I have paid with cash for every improvement to our home. I do not dehumanize anyone and never have in my entire lifetime. I am known and thought of as one of the most ethical people many have ever known. I am honest too. I am proud of my husband and I. If you call the prices for these little units affordable at 700,000 + ok. But in my world the homeless, the underpaid etc. The under educated (of which I am one too) could not afford those at all.

          To Clinton Wright: Thank you so much Clint. I sincerely appreciate your comment. Deb.

  7. I agree, Theresa, a full range of services is needed for real help. Diane Buckshnis consistently votes to protect the environment & our tax dollars. She is responsive to constituent concerns. I am voting for transparency, fiscal responsibility & accountability in the Mayor’s office. Diane is uniquely qualified. I don’t know her political party. I do know she cares about constituents. I can’t wait to vote for her!

  8. Great points Nathanial. I wonder where some people come up with their definitions of what feeling or being “entitled” amounts to. I’ve never felt “entitled” to much of anything and I’ve never held any animosity toward people over their race, religion, sexual orientation or you name it and I don’t accuse them of feeling entitled for some reason. Hell, I don’t even object to paying my fair share of taxes but I do object to being gouged on property taxes because every other form of taxation is off limits for some bogus reason or other. It really ticks me off when Republicans refer to Old Age Social Security payments as an “entitlement”; when it’s really an insurance that we pay in to and all citizens who have earned it, rich or poor, get it if they want it.

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